Bournemouth appoint Andoni Iraola as new manager following Gary O'Neil sacking

Former Rayo Vallecano coach takes over at Premier League club

Andoni Iraola was manager at Spanish side Rayo Vallecano for three seasons during which time he guided the Madrid club back into the top-flight. Getty
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Bournemouth have moved quickly to name Andoni Iraola as their new manager following the sudden departure of Gary O'Neil.

The Cherries caught many by surprise when they announced O'Neil's exit on Monday despite the 40-year-old guiding Bournemouth to top-flight safety by finishing 15th last season, three places and five points clear of the relegation zone.

But within hours, a further announcement was made to say that former Rayo Vallecano coach Iraola would be taking over at Vitality Stadium after the Spaniard agreed a two-year deal.

He earned promotion to La Liga in his first season with the Madrid club in 2020/21, before taking the team to the Copa del Rey semi-finals in the following campaign.

“We're so excited to welcome Andoni to the club,” Bournemouth owner and chairman Bill Foley said in a statement. “With his contract in Spain coming to an end this summer we wanted to act quickly.

“He was highly sought-after by other clubs across the continent, and his style of play has been an important factor in making this decision. His achievements in Spain have certainly been very impressive, and we're confident that he is the right man to lead our next chapter.

“We have identified a number of targets in the transfer market, which along with our January additions will supplement our strong playing squad to give Andoni the best chance to consolidate our Premier League status and keep progressing.”

Andoni officially starts work with the playing squad at the beginning of pre-season in July. He will have an early look at his new team before heading to a warm-weather training camp in Marbella, with the Cherries facing Hibernian and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first two pre-season friendly matches on July 13 and 16, respectively.

The 40-year-old leaves Rayo Vallecano having led them to 11th in La Liga last season after coming to the end of his contract.

Iraola played more than 500 games for Athletic Bilbao with the defender winning seven caps for Spain, ending his career in the US and two seasons at Major League Soccer side New York City.

Updated: June 19, 2023, 2:52 PM